Copenhagen shooting: Shopping mall gunman charged with murder

By Alys Davies
BBC News

  • Published
Media caption,

Watch: Panic as people flee gunfire in Copenhagen mall

A 22-year-old man suspected of killing three people at a shopping centre in Denmark's capital Copenhagen has been charged with murder.

Two Danish citizens, both aged 17, and a 47-year-old Russian citizen were killed in Sunday's attack.

Police said the suspect had mental health issues and there is no indication of a terror motive.

He had a rifle and a knife and his shooting was random - "not motivated by gender or anything else" - they said.

The suspect appeared in front of a court in a blue T-shirt accompanied by three heavily armed officers, Danish media report.

The suspect's lawyers refused to enter a plea for the accused while the media were present and the judge ordered the rest of the hearing to be behind closed doors. The judge also imposed a name ban on both the suspect and the victims.

The suspect will be remanded in a closed psychiatric ward for 24 days, authorities said.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Monday, police chief Soeren Thomassen said they believed the suspect - described as "an ethnic Dane" - was acting alone and was not helped by anyone else.

He added that the suspect was known "peripherally" to police.

Police are also investigating videos of a young man with weapons which have been circulating on social media since Sunday, and believe them to be authentic.

Image source, Mahdi al Wazni
Image caption,
The alleged gunman wandering around inside Field's Shopping Centre

Four people were seriously wounded in the attack.

Two are Danish citizens - a 40-year-old woman and a 19-year old woman. The other two are Swedes - a 50-year-old man and a 16-year old woman.

One remains in critical condition, the chief physician at one of the hospitals treating some of the victims said, giving no further details.

Three others were hit by stray bullets, taking the total number of people shot to 10, police said.

Of the 10 shot, six were women and four were men, police inspector Dannie Rise told reporters. One of those shot was an Afghan national, she added.

The deadly attack began at Field's shopping mall at around 17:35 (15:35 GMT) local time on Sunday, according to police reports.

The multi-storey shopping centre - one of the biggest in Denmark - is near a secondary school as well as a large student housing block, and is often full of young people.

Several of those present at the shopping centre spoke of how they fled the scene or hid in toilets, shops and storage rooms.

One of them, named Isabelle, told Danish media: "Suddenly we hear shots - 10 shots I think - and then we run through the mall and end up in a toilet, where we huddle together in this tiny toilet, where we are around 11 people.

"It's really hot and we wait and we are really scared. It's been a terrible experience."

Another eyewitness, Mikkel Suldrup, who is a chef at a restaurant in the shopping mall, told the BBC's Jessica Parker: "One moment I was making pizzas, the next moment a woman ran in and told us a man had started shooting... it just went chaotic... People crying, people panicking.

"A lot of people sought refuge in our restaurant. We had some kids who got lost from their parents. It was really terrible," he said. "I was scared of course. You had this feeling he could have come into our shop."

Image caption,
Mikkel Suldrup - who was working as a chef at one of the centre's restaurant when the attack happened - said it was a terrible ordeal

Police arrested the suspect near the mall - 13 minutes after being alerted to the attack.

Talking about the attack's aftermath, Mr Suldrup said: "I saw a dead man being carried out. It's indescribable, it really is. It's unbearable."

"You hear about these things happening in other countries, USA mainly, but you just don't think it happens here."

Less than a mile from the shopping mall, British singer Harry Styles was due to perform at a 17,000-capacity venue where crowds had already gathered inside before the show was cancelled.

Fans - many in their teens - were escorted by police to underground stations where parents picked them up, Danish media report.

Praising the police's response, concert-goer Jan Muller told the BBC: "They acted really quickly, organising transport for everyone."

Danes shocked to the core

Adrienne Murray, BBC News Copenhagen

Image source, MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN
Image caption,
A large police presence remains around the shopping mall

Dozens of heavily-armed officers have been standing guard outside the Field's shopping centre all morning, while investigators have been filing in and out.

The steps to the main entrance remain cordoned off with tape, and police vehicles line the street outside.

This is a smart office district on the outskirts of Copenhagen, but today the surroundings are quiet.

At the weekend this area would have been particularly busy. The mall is a popular spot for families and young people, and at the time of the shooting thousands of music fans were making their way to the Royal Arena concert hall, to see Harry Styles perform.

For this small Nordic country, where gun violence is rare and mass shootings are almost unheard of, Sunday's events are deeply shocking.

Only a couple of days earlier, the Tour de France had started in Copenhagen, and there had been a celebratory mood as spectators lined streets around the city.

Though it's thought the suspect acted alone, police are keeping a visible presence across the capital.

Image caption,
People have been coming to lay flowers around the cordoned-off shopping mall all day

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